Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Putting on the pontus!

I had my brother over tonight for a game of Blood on the Sands (a gladiator game I'm playtesting).  We decided to give the pontus (wooden bridge/platform) a whirl.  I had built the model a long time ago but never tried to game with it.

While BOTS does not have pontus rules we made a few.  The pontus fight is not a well documented thing but we did our best.  While how it was carried out remains a bit contentious the idea seems to be a single Retiarius defending a platform/bridge against two Secutores.  For this game we used a Secutor and an Arbelas (both Retiarius foes) since I had just completed the Arbelas model.

While this idea and game mode will likely develop more later we made the following decisions:
  • Moving up the ramp would cost two hexes per hex moved.
  • Any gladiator striking down would gain +1 dice bonus.
  • Any gladiator knocked prone on the pontus would make a speed test to avoid falling from the platform.
  • If the Retiarius left the platform he would gain -1 crowd favour each turn he spent off of the pontus.
  • We allowed the Retiarius his net, but did not issue him stones (stones are occasionally depicted on the pontus, giving the Retiarius something to throw at the Secutores as they advance on him)

We rolled up three characters, a single Retiarius, an Arbelas, and a Secutor.  I took the Retiarius, my brother the others.  No one rolled anything spectacular and only the Secutor gained a skill bonus.

The Arbelas charges forward as the Secutor takes his time.

Fearing the Secutor more, the Retiarius moves to defend that side - the Arbelas attacks but is tripped up by a well placed leg-sweep with the net.
The Secutor moves up the pontus, crashing into the Retiarius.  The Retiarius is forced back but trips over the Arbelas and falls off the platform.  He gathers himself and moves to re-board the pontus.  In the scrap the Retiarius suffers a very light leg wound.
The Retiarius prepares to regain his position as the Arbelas rights himself and stomps down the ramp.
The Retiarius and Arbelas scrap back and forth.
The Retiarius forces the Arbelas back with his trident - and he trips on the ramp.  The Retiarius seizes this opportunity and presses, delivering a massive strike, forcing the Arbelas to yield.  He rolls out of the engagement, embarrassed and exhausted.

The Secutor pauses for a breath then stomps down the ramp, feverishly striking at the Retiarius, forcing him to drop his trident.  He is also backing him near a fall.
The Secutor pins the Retiarius against the wall and strikes him with a brutal blow to the leg, shoving his gladius through his thigh.  Blood pours onto the sands the Retiarius is crippled, yielding.  Having inflicted no wounds, and having been forced from the pontus the crowd looks down on the Retiarius and his dispatched by the Secutor.
It was a really good balanced game.  I think if the Retiarius had scored a hit or two up top on the pontus he would have been in better shape.  It was definitely rough being solo, but with the addition of stones or perhaps a more skilled Retiarius - the pontus games will definitely return.  My brother and I agreed it was quite fun and didn't feel lopsided.
The grievous leg wound which doomed the poor Retiarius (six wounds, four of which were pouring blood).  This brutal leg wound immediately forced the Retiarius to retire, and the crowd had no pity on him.

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